Medication-Free Ways to Feel Better with Parkinson's Disease
You must have noticed your Grandmother or her friend’s hands? Some of them might be showing tremors or even changes in their voice- soft and slurry.
Do you wonder why there is a difference in their leg and hand movements? Yes, it’s a disorder, medically known as Parkinson’s which physically affects older population.
Parkinson’s Disease is a Neurogenerative disorder that affects dopamine -producing (dopaminergic) neurons in brain.
It is one of the most common neurologic disorders, affecting approximately 1% of older population (more than 60 years age), thus causing progressive disability that can be slowed down, but not halted and cured completely.
Parkinson’s Disease symptoms vary for everyone. It can be characterized by Tremors in hands or fingers, slowed movements, Impaired posture, forgetfulness, Changes in speech and Tightness in muscles.
While there is no prescription for a Parkinson Disease specific diet; to maintain overall good health and well-being, people suffering from Parkinson’s, can follow few dietary restrictions and guidelines.
What to eat?
According to Michael J Foundation for Parkinson’s research, a diet high in antioxidants reduces oxidative stress thus downsizing the intensity of symptoms.
Anti-oxidants are found in Vitamin A, C and E, Zinc and selenium rich foods. So, try incorporating the following foods:
- Nuts (Walnuts, pistachios, almonds),
- Tomatoes, bell peppers, greens
- Berries, Oranges, kiwi, lemon
- Carrots, beet
- Green tea
2. Omega 3 fatty acids
If you are tensed about avoiding those secondary symptoms of Parkinson’s like dementia and confusion, get serious about including lots and lots of omega 3 fatty acids in your plate.
It can be Soya, flax seeds, Urad dal, spinach, nuts, fatty fish, and kidney beans.
What to avoid?
There is an indirect link between dairy products consumption and Parkinson’s. Dairy products like milk, curd, cottage cheese may negatively impact the oxidation levels in your brain making the symptoms more persistent.
But, if you start eradicating dairy from your diet, you might fall deficient in Calcium.
So adding Calcium through supplements or vegetable sources like til seeds, ragi, green leafy and nuts should be considered for a better bone health.
2. Ward off the saturated fat
A proof whether or not high consumption of saturated fats is linked to Parkinson’s progression, is still under construction.
So, skip those deep-fried foods like fries, bhajias, farsaan or even heavily processed foods as they alter your metabolism and also increase blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels too!!
If you are suffering from Parkinson’s along with other metabolic disorders, then none of these above-mentioned foods are good for you.
Simple home remedies to manage symptoms
- If you are suffering from constipation or difficulty in passing stools, try adding turmeric powder or yellow mustard to encourage bowel movements. Also, a high fibre diet in the form of unstrained vegetable soups, mashed papaya and bananas can be of a great help.
- In case of muscle cramps, devouring more magnesium into your diet or through supplements can be of a great help
- According to Movement disorders: official journal of the movement Disorder society, caffeine may help reduce the severity of symptoms and even slow down the progression of Parkinson’s
- Regular exposure to early morning sunlight for Vitamin D helps protect against this disorder.
- Keep moving- If heavy physical activity is not possible, light walks or basic stretches at home can help with motor issues like stiffness, tremors, and muscle freezing
- Limit the intake of sugar, alcohol and caffeine before bed as they might interrupt sleep.
- Munch on small quantities of walnuts, almonds or nuts to promote a healthy brain health.
- Certain Parkinson’s drugs should be avoided along with a high protein meal as protein interferes with drug absorption reducing its positive effects. So, consulting a registered dietician for proper meal planning according to timing of drugs should be considered.
- Usually, people with Parkinson’s lose weight easily due to difficulty in chewing, swallowing, nausea or constipation making it difficult for them to eat. So, adding a little spice to your meals, or even consuming soft and easily chewable foods might stimulate their appetite and intake
- People with severe symptoms might find drinking, and eating food with hand difficult. So, using a straw or even placing plates on a rubber mat to avoid them from slipping. Cutting fruits into small pieces and removing the seeds might help them to chew better
- Not to forget, do not skip hydrating yourself with enough (8-10 glasses) of water to feel your best.
However, there is currently no cure, but proper treatment can help relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s disease and their loved ones!!
It can take time to get the right treatment and symptoms can also vary according to time. Staying in touch with a medical practitioner or a dietitian is important for maintaining a suitable treatment regime.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sneha Jain, Dietician
Sneha is a Post graduate with specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a university topper and holds 5+ years of experience in Apollo hospitals, VLCC, slimsutra and first cry fit-kids . She has successfully counselled clients all over India for weight loss, weight gain, diabetes, hypertension, PCOD, hypothyroid, Pregnancy and lactation and growth charts for children. She has her own diet consultation e-clinic (diet_diariez)
She believes in customized diets and eating local and seasonal foods. Her counselling not only involves diet planning, but also lifestyle modification and stress relief strategies.